Our Character Development Mobile Unit has been consistently working with youth in various schools throughout the Springdale School District since January 2021. This program has been an incredible outreach tool for us to be able to impact youth that are in home situations that keep them from being able to participate in our programming at our Lowell facility. We have been fortunate to have some incredible teachers, counselors, and staff at the school district that has helped us with this endeavor. One staff member that has gone above and beyond with our students is Mr. Omar Gonazalez.
Omar and his family had the opportunity to move to the United States just prior to the pandemic in 2019. Omar and his wife, Mary, have three children – Diego Rivera (21), Dario (12), and David (8). The two youngest sons are students in the Springdale School District. Upon moving to Springdale, Mr. Omar was a volunteer facilitator for the George Elementary School Education
Accelerated by Service and Technology program until 2021, when he was then hired on as the school district’s Multimedia Specialist in their Communication Department.
Mr. Omar’s background includes a Bachelors in Communication Sciences and a Masters in Film Direction. While living in Mexico he was a Communications Advisor for the State Commision for the Victims of Crime Attention as well as the Head of Information and Multimedia Design of the Commision for Security and Integram Development for Michoacán. He also was the co-founder of the multimedia company Captura Visual where he had many roles – video producer, multimedia designer, editor, aerial and ground filmmaker, and photographer.
At the beginning of the First Tee Character Development Mobile Unit programming, both of Omar’s younger sons were original program participants. This is how Mr. Omar became connected with our Director of Programming and Outreach, Isaac Tellez. They began collaborating and working together on ways to improve the local community, and how Mr. Omar’s experiences in the film industry could be helpful, and the First Tee Frame by Frame program was born.
The Frame by Frame program is a unique group of kids that are learning the ins and outs of filmmaking. They have worked on the creative side, coming up with ideas for the films, and then followed up with the execution of making the film. They have taken turns being actors, videographers, and collaborated on editing the films before production. Mr. Omar has taken great pride in overseeing the design and development of the Frame by Frame curriculum. Through this program he is able to encourage the children that he meets with to be inspired to participate in the learning of audio and visual techniques, and using these tools to share their stories, be a voice, and be proud of their background. Mr. Omar helps the students to identify adversities they face and use them to produce impactful videos to better tell their own personal story. The focus is to highlight values, goals, and morals with their short films, while also allowing the participants exposure to different environments, experiences, and jobs that the world of cinematography can open up to them. His favorite part of working with the youth is seeing a boost in their confidence as they enhance their skills abilities through teamwork and hands on projects.
We are incredibly grateful to have Mr. Omar leading our Frame by Frame program. It is obvious he has a huge heart for youth and is making a huge impact with the kids he interacts with. Mr. Omar says he lives by the wisdom imparted on him by his father,
“In your life you must do good and correct things and share love, compassion, and gratitude with people. Then you just have to wait for the best things to happen in your life.”
What great words to live by, and what an amazing example Mr. Omar is for youth today.